Healthcare providers should tailor pain care to each patient's experience and promote self-management of chronic pain, a condition that affects more than 116 million Americans and costs the U.S. up to $635 billion annually in medical treatment and lost productivity, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine.
IOM urges changes in pain management
Researchers concluded there should be a “cultural transformation” to better prevent, assess, treat and understand pain of all types. At the federal level, HHS should develop a plan that heightens awareness about pain and its consequences, and improves pain assessment and management in the delivery of care and the financing of federal government programs. Meanwhile, primary-care physicians should work with pain specialists in cases where pain persists for patients. And public and private insurers could offer incentives to support the delivery of coordinated, evidenced-based, interdisciplinary pain assessment and care for those who live with complex pain, the report recommended.
“Chronic pain is a disease that affects more people than heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined, and yet we spend only a small portion of the budget of the National Institutes of Health on understanding its cause or how to treat it,” Dr. Sean Mackey, associate professor of anesthesia at Stanford University and chief of the school's division of pain management, said in a news release. Mackey also served on the 19-member committee that compiled the report.
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